The Syrian crisis is a human rights catastrophe.
Today, over 100,000 Syrians have been killed — mostly civilians, including children. And the number is mounting with no end in sight.
Mass atrocities are complex, organized crimes. The Assad regime requires the assistance of “enablers” – governments, commercial entities, and individuals that provide resources, goods, services, or other support that sustain the commission of atrocities.
Together, these enablers form a supply chain that fuels Assad’s crimes against humanity.
Human Rights First has been tracking enablers of Assad’s atrocities. This project maps that supply chain and provides a roadmap for the United States to disrupt them.
In our report, Enablers of the Syrian Conflict How Targeting Third Parties Can Slow the Atrocities in Syria, Human Rights First found that enablers of Syrian atrocities include the country’s large allies but also smaller countries and commercial entities as well:
Russia, North Korea, and Iran have provided the Assad regime military weapons, fuel, and financial assistance.
Venezuela, Angola, and private entities in Georgia, Lebanon, and Cyprus sent diesel fuel.
Private companies in Italy, the United States, and Greece provided communications and surveillance technology—some of which relied on American-based telecommunications platforms.
The threats to regional security make the Syrian crisis a vital threat to U.S. national security interests. But U.S. efforts to slow or stop the crisis—diplomacy and sanctions, primarily—have had little effect. The United States can more effectively stem atrocities in Syria by systematically isolating, pressuring, and disrupting its enablers.
The Russian arms dealer Rosoboronexport has supplied the Assad regime with billions of dollars of arms used to kill over 100,000 Syrian civilians. Now, America is arming Syrian rebels at the same time that we are buying helicopters for Afghanistan—from the same arms dealer that supplies Assad.
The only winners of this arms contract are Putin’s cronies who run Rosoboronexport and receive billions from Assad...and millions from U.S. taxpayers.
Human Rights First’s blueprint, How to Stop Doing Business with Russia’s Arm Exporter, provides a roadmap for the Defense Department to end U.S. arms procurement from companies that enable atrocities.
Stop the Atrocity Supply Chain is a project of Human Rights First.
About the Report
For two years, countries and commercial entities have successfully provided the Assad regime with the munitions, supplies, and money they need to sustain their brutal campaign. Human Rights First’s report, The Enablers of the Syrian Conflict: How Targeting Third Parties Can Slow the Atrocities in Syria, marks the two-year anniversary of the conflict in Syria and provides the most comprehensive look at these “enablers” of Syrian atrocities. As the U.S. government and other countries consider options in response to the Syrian crisis, they should use this roadmap to stem the bloodshed there by choking the flow of arms, resources, and money flowing to President Bashar al-Assad.
Despite the facts that the Russian arms dealer Rosoboronexport is the primary supplier of weapons to the Assad regime and Congress has explicitly banned contracts with the company, the Pentagon is spending millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to purchase helicopters for Afghan forces. Our blueprint, How to Stop Doing Business with Russia’s Arm Exporter, documents how U.S. taxpayer money has flowed to Rosoboronexport. It provides a roadmap for the Defense Department to end U.S. arms procurement from companies that enable atrocities.
About Human Rights First
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. We believe American leadership is essential in the struggle for human rights so we press the U.S. government and private companies to respect human rights and the rule of law. When they don’t, we step in to demand reform, accountability, and justice. Around the world, we work where we can best harness American influence to secure core freedoms.